Providing more information to users about a package

Toshio Kuratomi a.badger at
Sat May 24 09:08:58 PDT 2008

James Westby wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm at the airport on my way back from UDS. One of the sessions we
> did there was a phone conference with Richard Hughes (on Cc) about
> PackageKit. We got on to talking about wider issues, including how to
> provide more information about a package when a user is thinking about
> installing it, including things like screenshots.
> It would be great to do this in a cross-disto fashion, as most of the
> information is going to work for everyone. Obviously there are things
> like the theme used in screenshots that will change this, but perhaps
> it is not so important.
> One possibility is for us to just get all this information and stick
> it on a server somewhere, and then make the tools retrieve it as needed.
> However, this would probably be a lot of data, and may also have
> a lot of users retrieving it.
> Debian now has support for a "Homepage" field in debian/control, and
> I'm told that rpm spec files also contain this information. My 
> suggestion was to use this, and have the upstream projects provide
> everything that we need, distributing the problem.
Letting upstream do it does distribute the work.  But it also means we 
can't control what goes in there.  Many packages use a sourceforge 
project page, blog feed, launchpad page, etc as their homepage.  They 
don't control the hosting at those URLs enough to be able to put 
arbitrary records there.

Also, there's things that would be very nice to have in a package 
installer UI that aren't static content and thus not easily available to 
the downstream projects at URLs they control.  For instance, user 
generated reviews, ratings, and popularity are things that would be much 
  easier to support from a distribution or inter-distribution resource 
than individual upstreams.

In Fedora we've toyed with the idea of either saving this type of 
information in our package database or getting it out of MugShot but 
haven't committed to anything.


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